A UK couple had their three foster children taken away after social workers decided that the couple’s support for the supposedly “racist” policies of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) made them “unsuitable” caregivers, The Telegraph reports.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ukip, it’s the conservative wing of British politics. If you want an understanding of the group’s principles, look no further than Nigel Farage, founding member and party leader:
“It is total and utter failure. This ship, the euro Titanic has now hit the iceberg and sadly there simply aren’t enough life boats,” said Farage, an infamously skeptical critic of the eurozone, to the European Parliament.
The Ukip advocates lower taxes, limited government, freer markets, and immigration reform. However, to certain social workers in the Labour-controlled Rotherham borough, supporting the above makes you an “unsuitable” foster parent.
The parents claim they were made to feel like criminals and that they had a “black mark” on them for supporting the conservative group. And now it has culminated in the loss of their foster children, one boy and two girls.
Unsurprisingly, Farage unloaded on the Rotherham borough’s decision to take the children away, calling it “a bloody outrage” and “political prejudice of the very worst kind.”
Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister, agrees with Farage.
“I will be very concerned if decisions have been made about the children’s future that were based on misguided political correctness around ethnic considerations,” he said.
"Being a supporter of a mainstream political party is not a deal-breaker when it comes to looking after children if it means they can have a loving family home,” he added.
The foster couple wishes to remain anonymous because they don’t want the children they cared for being involved. However, it has been revealed that they are both in their 50s, the husband is a retired Royal Navy reservist of more than 30 years who currently works with disabled people, and the wife is a “qualified nursery nurse.”
It is also being reported that they have spent seven years acting as foster parents and have looked after about a dozen different children.
So let’s do a quick recap: The husband spent three decades as a reservist in the Royal Navy and currently works with disabled people. The wife is a qualified nursery nurse. The two of them have cared for dozens of children in the past seven years. But they’re "unfit" to act as foster parents now because they support a conservative political group?
The Telegraph describes the moment when the couple were visited by the anti-Ukip social worker:
… they received a visit out of the blue from the children’s social worker at the Labour-run council and an official from their fostering agency.
They were told that the local safeguarding children team had received an anonymous tip-off that they were members of Ukip.
An anonymous tip?
“I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, 'What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?’” the wife said in the recent Telegraph article.
“Then one of them said, 'Well, Ukip have got racist policies.’ The implication was that we were racist. [The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries,” she said.
“I’m sat there and I’m thinking, 'What the hell is going off here?’ because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family. I said, 'I am absolutely offended that you could come in my house and accuse me of being a member of a racist party.’”
The wife continued: “These kids have been loved. These kids have been treated no differently to our own children. We wouldn’t have taken these children on if we had been racist.”
But despite her words, the boy was taken away the next day and the two girls were removed at the end of the week.
The wife said the social worker told her: “We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.”
The wife said she was left “bereft," adding: “We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot. I knew she wouldn’t have been here forever, but usually there is a build-up of several weeks. I was in tears.”
Her husband added: “If we were moving the children on to happier circumstances we would be feeling warm and happy. To have it done like that, it’s beyond the pale.”
A spokesman for Rotherham metropolitan borough council issued the following statement on the matter:
After a group of sibling children were placed with agency foster carers, issues were raised regarding the long-term suitability of the carers for these particular children.
With careful consideration, a decision was taken to move the children to alternative care. We continue to keep the situation under review.
But "review" or not, Ukip party leader Farage is furious with the decision.
“I am outraged politically and very upset for them. I think this is the kind of thing where we need some sort of decree from a Government minister that Ukip is not a racist party,” Farage said.
David Goosey, the chairman of the trustees at Community Foster care, an independent fostering charity, said:
If this is accurate and there are no other extraneous matters that have concerned the authorities, then it is completely ridiculous and no self-respecting authority should be stopping people fostering on the grounds of their membership of Ukip.
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All photos courtesy Getty Images. This story has been updated.